In the 1960s, when sculpture had gotten very big, Ken Price made sculpture that was emphatically small -- often small enough to hold in your hand. When industrial materials such as stainless steel, rubber and plastic resins were being embraced, he used clay -- the oldest sculptural material of all. As debates erupted over color in sculpture and whether it should be intrinsic or could be applied, Price mingled traditional ceramic glazes with vivid acrylic paints on his sculptural clay objects.
The result has been one of the most distinctive bodies of work produced by an American sculptor since World War II. In September, the Los Angeles artist, 76, will be the subject of an eagerly anticipated retrospective exhibition at the L.A. County Museum of Art. (It will travel to the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.) As a no-doubt enlightening bonus, "Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective" will be shown in an installation designed by his friend and colleague, architect Frank O. Gehry.
-- Christopher Knight